Saddling Up Anyway

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” ~John Wayne

I’ve got a little pet peeve. The row I’ve been given to hoe is not the easiest- boy howdy, do I know it. But the truth is, I have a roof over my head, student loans piling up, three kids who are healthy, food in the ‘fridge, friends and family who love us, and a great ward. I’m fairly smart, and the Lord blessed me with a few talents to help me get by. My current circumstances might kind of suck (and some days really really suck) but honestly, I’m just a regular person getting by the best I can.

Lately, as I plow through what must be done, people have been making what I know are meant as kind comments about how amazing or strong I seem. At first, this felt kind of nice. But as they’ve become more frequent, I’m becoming perplexed. I’m confused- I am no more or less strong than anyone- I get up each morning and do what has to be done. Sometimes it’s harder than others, sometimes I cry and yell, sometimes I laugh and dance. Sometimes the weight feels crushing, sometime I feel invincible.

It’s not “strong” or “amazing” to take care of your children- it’s simply what a mother does. Some days I rock, other days I crash and burn- just ask my kids. Hopefully when it all shakes out, the rocking-days will outnumber the fireballs, but who knows yet. The fact that there is no one else to share this task doesn’t make me strong, or a hero. It just makes it part of life.

Today at church a man told me I was his hero. I sat, while he chatted, and was bemused and kind of perplexed. I know he meant this as a compliment, as he told me how he was in school too, but with a wife and one child, and how hard it was for him. I don’t know what to say, so I smile and nod, and bite the inside of my cheek. What the heck else am I supposed to do besides find a way to make this damn thing work? I don’t understand.

In talking the other day with a friend who has a son with a severe disability, we agreed being told repeatedly how “strong” we were was getting to be a really bummer. What people are really saying, without meaning to, is that they are really glad they don’t have my life. And then I feel like I have to thank them for complimenting me on not having my life. It’s a very weird thing.

Comments on my strength are quite often followed up by a statement along the lines of “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t do it.” And again, how perplexing is this? What do you mean? Yes, you could- and if your world blew into a million pieces, you would, because dammit, no one else is going to. I’m not stronger than you. I’m not braver or more heroic. I’m terrified most of the time, and I get up every morning and get back in the saddle- not because it’s fun, not because I want to- because I have to. And given the three little faces looking at you, you would too.

43 thoughts on “Saddling Up Anyway

  1. Ah, the compliment that is not really a compliment. Maybe some people really mean to say they would not expect to be as happy to saddle up anyway as you appear to them to be? Is that a compliment?

  2. I don’t know. I don’t intend to sound all sour-grapes, which I know this might. I understand people are being nice- but really, what does one say to that? And what does it mean?

  3. I get this occasionally (they are referencing raising a son with severe autism) and feel the same way as you about it …. and the “I couldn’t do it” comment should read, “I’m really glad I don’t have to do it.”

    Honestly, I wish instead of getting the “you are a hero” comments, I would get a little more help! (Sorry….I’m having a day!)

  4. I’m sorry, but this post made me go HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, because, in a weird, but very real way: welcome to my world.

    Our lives are very different, I know. My kids have different struggles, my marriage is intact and solid.

    BUT.

    Every time I prick my finger, every time I inject insulin, people shake their heads at my needles or blood. I, too, constantly hear: “I hate needles. I could never do it. I don’t know how you handle it.” And I ALWAYS say, “Yes, you could do it, because if you had this disease, you wouldn’t have a choice.” I’m not brave. I’m doing what I have to do to keep myself alive. I’m selfish that way.

    Once, at choir practice, I had a low blood sugar. Now, going hypo SUCKS, and I was shaking pretty badly. The woman next to me (who is my friend) was kind of freaking out – what can I do? Can I get you some food? Do you HAVE food? What kind of food do you need?” As I was struggling to open my starburst (which of course I have, what kind of diabetic would I be if I didn’t have sugar with me?) she took it from me – “here, let me open it” which was actually helpful, as the shakes can make it difficult to open the candy. I ate it, while she leaned past me, touched my daughter’s arm, and said in a solemn voice – “Your mom is so brave.” It was really a tad awkward. I resolved to never go hypo again in front of people. (Like I have a choice, but whatever.)

    So, yeah. I hear you.

  5. People mean well, but they just don’t think. At all. I hate the “I couldn’t do it” comments, too.

    Also, I recently lost my father (who I was rather close to, not that it matters because I think the loss of a parent sucks no matter what). I had so many people tell me that they just couldn’t even go there to imagine what it’s like without a certain parent. That irritated me. Then they’d say “But I just can’t IMAGINE how much more it will hurt when my mom dies.” That really bugs me.

    I remember reading that when Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman tragically lost his daughter, people told them “I know how you feel. I lost my cat/dog once.” Are you kidding me?!

    Sorry, I went off on a tangent. It’s a similar irritation. I just do what you do. You smile, you do what you have to do, and you tell yourself “They mean well. They mean well. They mean well.”

  6. I think it must be a luxury to say “I could never do that….” because honestly, I wouldn’t tempt fate. I know better than to think I can’t do something. How nice it must be to think you’ll never be called upon to dig deep… good luck with that.

  7. Yeah, I think people sometimes think they won’t get certain trials because “the Lord won’t give us more than we can handle”. Maybe it makes them feel safer from certain trials? My view of it is that life happens, and the Lord will strengthen us with whatever does happen – it doesn’t mean you are ‘safe’ from anything. My sister-in-law used to get really annoyed when people would say “I couldn’t do that” to her when she had her twins. Like others have said, you could if you didn’t have a choice.

  8. Lots of truth in there. But some people definitely handle adeversity with more grace than others. And I think it’s okay to notice and admire that. The “I couldn’t do it” comments do sort of show a lack of insight….. but the way life tends to go, they’ll get a chance to do something they think they can’t before their turn is over.

  9. Ahh, I am one who finds comfort in your strenght. I don’t compare our challenges, I would not want yours, just as I am sure you would not want mine. Life is not about comparisons, but finding strength in each other. People comment to me, as I sit with 3 kids and a husband overseas, and soon in a war zone as a diplomat, that they don’t know how I do it. And often I comment to my husband that I just can’t do anymore. I don’t have any more strength to give, any more part of me that isn’t already being torn in 20 different directions, and yet a new challenge arises, and the strength is given. As DH sat on a boat, in the harbor in Libya securing other diplomats, I just couldn’t do it…and yet day after day until he was back safe in Malta I did it. As I wipe kids noses over and over, and I wonder how I can do it one more day, I just do it. I don’t want the strength, I want someone to take my life…but then there is no one I would trade life with. If I didn’t have the challenges, I also wouldn’t have the joy of our 3 children, a husband who supports our family, adores me, despite the distance, and the adventures of our time overseas.
    So Tracy, I don’t want your life! But I admire your strength, more importantly your resolve to keep putting one foot in front of another and giving your kids the best life despite the circumstance you find yourself in.
    I have great comfort in my belief that our lives are molded, guided, and shaped by a loving Heavenly Father, despite how much it hurts. I trust in HIS love!
    Keep putting one foot in front of another…and have your rocking days, they will be remembered!

  10. I know what you mean, not from the same set of circumstances, but because my parents died when I was a child. Whenever I explained to people that I don’t have parents I would get similar comments, and they too perplexed me and ultimately became part of the reason I to this day hardly ever mention it in conversations that would even call for me to. I wasn’t strong as a child, it was really effin’ hard, the effects of which still show themselves in my life today. I just carried on, as you said, as anyone would. Granted, I didn’t end up a total mess and I suppose that DOES happen to some who lose their parents/get divorced/face tremendous hardships, but it certainly wasn’t a concerted effort of strength on my part. I just lived and tried my best to be/become a good person.

    So, I hear ya. It feels strange to say something slightly negative to a kindly intended remark, but it’s nevertheless a true response, yeah?

  11. I am one who has probably been guilty of saying something stupid and inconsiderate like this. I am thankful for this post because now I know I will think twice before I say it again! Thank you for the insight and the opportunity for me to grow a little from your experience.

  12. Just another view (wherein I hope my voice comes through the type, as my intent is not to offend but clarify why *I* compliment people):

    You want to know what I think? I’m glad I am not you. There, whew. That felt… …uncomfortable. I would rather be eloquent, but I grapple at some lame way to say “I love you, I admire you, I hope what I say makes you feel happy, noticed and supported inside.”

    Of course we know that if the situations you face everyday were forced on me I would *have* to do what you do, or maybe not.

    I have a s-i-l who, frankly, has had less to “handle” in life as I have, and chose to give up her amazing little children for a few years, go on a bender and frankly checked out. I also know quite a few people who have been told that their lives *depended* on a certain diet or regime, and instead of saying “Can you pass me my syringe?” decided to keep walking their current road until, yup, it killed them. There are many examples of “normal church going people” who end up not being able to handle the tough times in life and quit, leave, choose to do dangerous things rather than the difficult “right” things.

    So no, not everyone would/could handle your struggles/life in the seemingly graceful way you do. Some choose drugs, alcohol, or other forms of escapism; you chose the tougher road. Some run, you bucked up. You *are* stronger than some!

    You want some more honesty? I *do* admire you and frankly, I don’t know that I could handle having a son who I couldn’t squish and kiss and smother and dance with.

    Don’t kid yourself, what you and ALL of us do to keep it together is amazing, and when someone tosses you a compliment, take it! You deserve it.

    • Smee, thank you. I appreciate the frankness of your comment- and of course, it’s true. Not everyone would deal with what I have the way I have. My X couldn’t handle life and checked out.

      I liked you just saying “I admire you.” That sounds genuine, simple, and sincere.

    • To be honest – Smee summed up my first thought when I read this as well. You ARE strong, as many people would find refuge in drugs or alcohol, or other distracting/self-destructive behaviours. You think you are doing what anyone would do in the same situation, but I’m not sure that’s entirely true. Don’t sell yourself short. You are awesome, and your kids are so lucky, SO LUCKY, to have you.

  13. My guess is that we all do this to some extent, and that we all have it done to us sometimes too. Maybe it comes from not really putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes enough. A good reminder to me to be better about that.

    I got this kind of comment a lot as a foster parent, especially when we were facing a very difficult goodbye with our foster son who we had had for over a year. People would say, “I don’t know how you do it. You are so amazing (etc.). I could never be a foster parent, because I would get too attached.” It made me feel like … hello? Do you not think I get attached? I am DYING inside here! I’m not brave. I just don’t have a choice at this point.

  14. I was just thinking about this today. This situation always makes me think of those who are praised as war heroes. The majority of them don’t care for the title because they know they were just reacting in the only way they could have in the situation they were in. Although I believe people are genuinely being kind and sincere when they are praising in this way, I tend to feel a little guilty about the many days when I am NOT strong and NOT patient and wish with everything in me that my trials were different.
    It’s tricky, because no one wants to be the person that others look at with that mix of “pity/I’m glad I am not in your shoes” yet you are grateful for the support. At some point, you just want to blend in and be known for your awesome cookie recipe or well kept lawn, rather than being the poster child who makes others appreciate how much less certain aspects of their own life sucks. Not when those same people are enjoying something you feel you may never get again. That being said, people are kind and people are well meaning and it isn’t hard to take things in the spirit they are intended, but (reasonably or unreasonably) it gets wearying to accept praise for something you would gladly give away and are maybe tired of and feel guilty about it. I don’t share this view much because I don’t want anyone to feel kindness is thrown back at them, because love is always appreciated, but I get it.

    • Absolutely, Cyn. And I knew even writing this I might seem like I was ungrateful for kindness. I’m not, of course- its cumulative, and I’m just weary of fending off the feelings genuinely well-meant comments dredge up.

      Sometimes I want to scream- don’t compliment me on my strength- offer to help, or watch my kids, or anything but that!

  15. When my mom died and I had twins a week later, so many people told me “I couldn’t have handled that as well as you did.”

    I always told them, “You would have done exactly the same thing.” And they would have, because the alternative was neglecting my babies so I could cry uninterrupted. Like that was even a choice.

    What a silly remark.

    HOWEVER, five years later, having seen others go through even more gut-wrenching challenges than mine, I see it differently. Yes, when crap happens we respond with extroardinary strength only because it’s the decent thing to do. Does that make it any less praiseworthy?

    Sooner or later, everybody has horrible stuff happen to them. It’s hard for others to find the right words to say, “I think you’re doing a great job.” Does that mean we shouldn’t try? Even when heroism is ordinary I think it’s okay to say, “I admire how you’re handling this.”

    So. Tracy, I think you’re amazing. You’re doing what most mothers in your position would do, but I still think you’re awesome.

  16. You ought to check out SupportForSpecialNeeds.com. They have an entire thread on “What not to say to a special needs parent.” “I couldn’t do it” is one of the most common pet peeves. There’s also a thread on the snide remarks you’d like to say back to stupid comments as well as one on the very best things to say. It’s fun and relieving to read.

  17. “I admire you for homeschooling. I couldn’t do it.”

    Sometimes I want to scream, “yes, you very well could! And if you felt you HAD to, that you were being prompted to/led to/had no choice but to, you would do exactly as I do, pull yourself up to the challenge and DO IT.

    I realize this is nothing like your situation, but I understand to some extent. In the end I “Pollyanna” the situation, realize the person means well, and move on.

    I will try to remember to banish that phrase from my common speech.

  18. May I play devil’s advocate? What’s so wrong with people feeling that they wouldn’t want your life (and complimenting you for how you navigate it)? Chances are, you wouldn’t have chosen it out of a line-up, either. At least what they are saying is that they have given you a cursory thought and they are acknowledging your strength in living daily as you do. They may feel that they would go to pieces because that is a normal initial reaction, and they just haven’t considered what they would do NEXT, after the falling apart bit.

    I have thought often (and this won’t speak well of me, but I am being honest) that being capable isn’t all that great. My colleagues, ward, and even friends didn’t know my husband had left for a full year and more after the fact. That was because I functioned. I had my bases covered. It wasn’t fun or easy in the least. It was nitty gritty, but clearly I faked it pretty well, because nobody who interacted with me on a daily/weekly basis sussed it out. I didn’t ask for help because I didn’t NEED help. When I moved, I had to hire some guys and a van and move myself because, well, the EQ didn’t even know I was moving. When I had my baby, I was there alone because my mom was watching my older kids and that was a dark dark time in my life. But no one had any idea because I was at Church that week to watch my daughter in her first Primary program, baby in sling. It was darn lonely. Still is. Even though the cat is out of the bag, I function and people are able to ignore me just like anyone else they are not concerned about. That doesn’t feel so hot, either.

    Isn’t that terrible? I know it says something awful about me that I would actually like for someone to tell me how relatively sucky my life is, but I kind of would. I would actually appreciate someone somewhere sometime to think of me and let it hit home just how lucky they are not to be living my life.

    • esodhaimbo, there is nothing at all wrong with people feeling like they wouldn’t want my life- heck, some days I don’t want it either. That’s not what I was trying to convey.

      And you my friend, have carried a heavy load for a long time with no help, it would seem. Perhaps letting a few people in who you trust might help you. We all need empathy and love, and none of us can do it alone. I’m grateful for my friends and my ward and the consistent, tremendous love they’ve shown me and my kids- but for that to happen, you have to be vulnerable- and that’s very hard sometimes. I wish you all the best, and hope someone can see you and give you some love.

      • esodhiambo, NO you are NOT doing it wrong. Granted this is just based on what you wrote, but IMO you are doing it the only way you know how and what has worked for you in the past – and making it through each and every day is a victory. If it works for you, then keep doing it. Needing more of a support system is what Tracy and many others need -but that doesn’t make your version of “saddling up” any less viable or valuable.

        I agree completely with you that the acknowledgment of being thought of is important. And I agree with this:

        “They may feel that they would go to pieces because that is a normal initial reaction, and they just haven’t considered what they would do NEXT, after the falling apart bit.”

        I think that is a perfect synopsis of why so many people say these well-meaning things that can also perplex us.

  19. Whenever I get comments like that (you are so strong, I could never do that) my reply is along the lines of “No, I’m not. This is my normal. It has ups and downs just like everyone else. In my world of normal I get things done just like you do.”

    The worst is when I get a “Oh, you poor thing! I am so sorry.” Um, no. No pity, no apologies. I don’t feel sorry for myself so why should anyone else?

  20. I get annoyed by similar comments as well, but one I love is, “I love the way you handle your boys.” Since I don’t always handle them well, it’s nice to be noticed when I do, and even more than that, many people judge and think I’m not handling them correctly, even though it’s really the best/only way to deal with certain things, so it’s nice to know that some people realize that and admire and enjoy watching me with my boys. I want more of that (both people being non-judgmental and me dealing with my kids well rather than poorly). So I’ll say to you that (from what I read on here and other places), I love the way you parent your children. I think you’re a good mom for them and I think you do a great job.

    Also, one of my favorite come-backs when people say they don’t know how I do it or something similar is something my mom once told my husband. Our second baby was about a week and a half old, the oldest wasn’t quite 18mo, my mom was leaving to go home and my husband was going out of town on business for a week. My husband said, “I just don’t know how she’s going to do it,” and my mom shrugged, smiled, and said, “She’ll just do it, ’cause she just has to.” It’s such a good response to I don’t know how you do it — “I just do it, because I just have to.” Just like anyone’s trials — you figure out how to deal with them, because that’s what you have to do, and you move on.

  21. It’s funny because my husband left the church 4 years ago, and I totally got the pity looks and comments that basically say it sucks to be me and not have an eternal marriage, but I deal with it and move on.

    Honestly I’m sure there is someone for which we’re like, dang it sucks to be them, and maybe at times we are that person, but we just deal and move on.

    I do admire what you do. I can’t imagine you’re life, nor will I try because I know I cannot give credit or come close to what you deal with, but I think you’re awesome for how you deal with it.

  22. I was moderately young when I became a widow with a family. I unfortunately temple-married a druggie, adulterous trainwreck who had no business being married (surprise!). I stopped going to church functions anymore soon after he died because the minute a married couple would see me, they would pull each other close and smooch or some such. I strongly felt the “This won’t happen to us” or “Stay away woman, I’m taken” vibes.

  23. I don’t think I’ve left a post here before but I wanted to leave one today. First off I think you are doing an amazing job with your kids. You are a great mom and whether you are in the set of circumstances that you are or not that is a wonderful thing to be. As for me, a couple of years ago I was the one saying “I could never imagine…” and “how does a person deal with something like that…” when my SIL lost her baby at full term. 5 weeks later I had to deliver my 5th child and first girl at 21 weeks to save my life after I had an eclamptic seizure. The seizure left me with a headache that has not gone away since and the need for migraine preventatives every day so that I don’t have a constant migraine. Doctors don’t know why and have told me at this point that the headache will probably not go away. During this time my BIL went over the deep end with his bipolar disorder and involved my husband very deeply where I didn’t know some nights if my husband would come home (alive), My wonderful mother in law was also fighting pancreatic cancer and lost the battle a year after we lost our baby and my oldest son is fighting serious depression and has lost all interest in life. When people have told me that they don’t know how I do it or “how do you keep going” it’s easy…every day the sun keeps coming up. You have a choice. You can keep on living or not. I choose to keep living. It’s hard..every single day. But the sun just keeps on coming up and so you keep moving forward. That’s what you do.

  24. I love this post, Tracy – and I agree with every word in it. The following really struck me:

    “I am no more or less strong than anyone- I get up each morning and do what has to be done. ”

    Life in a nutshell.

    I get that the compliments generally also mean, “I’m glad my life doesn’t suck as much as yours does” – but they still are sincere compliments. Take them for what they are – even if they are bemusing and not completely accurate.

  25. I’ve said that before, probably even to you. It only means that I admire your strength and am searching for something to say to be encouraging.

    During a very intense week I saw a friend who felt for me and said, ” You know you are so loved and admired!”
    I said, “I don’t want to be admired, I want a nap.”

  26. I’ve played around with different responses. My favorite so far is to reply, “It’s not my strength, it’s the Lord’s,” or “without the Lord, I couldn’t do it either,” something like that.

    It kind of shuts them up, no matter who they are. And it has the added bonus of being true! ;)

  27. When I was trudging tearfully through my trial, I gained a new understanding of the Pioneers (but certainly no less respect). For years, I, like so many others, had said “I could not have done that.” And then I experienced (on my own prairie and rocky hills) what they did. And I discovered -for them and for me – that there was NO OTHER choice than to move on. Yes, they could have chosen to turn about and head the other way . . . alone and toward certain death. Yes, they could have chosen to just sit down and stop . . . and die in short order. But in a very literal sense, those were the only choices they could have made to escape their reality. And those weren’t viable choices. Their only real choice – that had an acceptable possible ending – was to keep going. Period. It wasn’t about heroics or a stronger character or anything else. It was about good people moving forward through the muck, because quitting was NOT an option. It was about survival.

    I dare say that the people who make the comments /observations you refer to simply haven’t been in a situation that places their lives (their living, not their dying) at such a risk. Up until now, they have had options – whether or not they have recognized it. Once they have had to truly survive something, their words will turn to “You’re doing wonderfully. You will finish this journey. I admire your fight. Keep going.”

    And Tracy, you’re doing wonderfully. You will finish this journey. I admire your fight. Keep going.

  28. I get that about PKD, too. I don’t feel particularly inspiring, or cool, or whatever. I just do it. I have to live with it because it isn’t going away. But I think people can admire strength that shows up when it has to–I know when my SIL’s baby passsed away at 11 days, I was literally floored by the light that radiated from her at his funeral. She was full of it, because she had turned her burden over to the Lord, and He was helping her through it. I was really proud of her, and admired her for the choice she made not to be bitter or angry that her child was taken from her.

    And I fully supported her when, after the funeral, she crashed on the couch and didn’t move for hours, maybe days. At that point, she didn’t have the same kind of light, and I still admired her—for taking the time she needed to emotionally and physically rest.

    Would I have done the same? I hope so. But the point is that we don’t know how we will react in certain trials, and so when I say I admired her, I guess what I’m really saying is that if I ever had to bury my 11 day old baby, I would make the same choices that would bring me the same light.

    And you DO have a choice. Your ex’s behavior tells you that. But even beyond the daily grind, which is probably not so optional, your attitude is what is inspiring. Yeah, every mom takes care of her kids (well, every good mom does—it’s not a given), but not everybody does it like you do.

    You might not feel inspiring, and you might feel like, “Well, wouldn’t EVERYBODY do it like this?” and the answer is no, no they wouldn’t.

    I’m glad that you can see the kindness in people’s words, though. I’ve had to learn that when people are being dopes, at least they are well meaning dopes.

  29. As someone who has said “I admire your strength”, I stand by my comment. I don’t think everyone steps up because they have to. There are plenty of people who check out, who fall apart, who don’t step up to their responsibility. It does require strength to get up each morning and keep doing it. And it doesn’t always come from a place of “I’m glad my life isn’t yours.” I have my own trials that hurt and are hard. They are different from yours. But because I know that there are parts of my life that are hard, I understand that it requires strength to deal with challenges. And so I compliment you on the strength I see in you. Not because I see it as extraordinary, but because it is the right thing to do.

  30. One of the most eye-opening experiences of my life happened when I was talking with a friend. I don’t even remember now who said it first, but we each mentioned that we didn’t see how the other handled life with the circumstances we faced at the time. She was a nurse, working nights, and her husband was in grad school. With their schedules, they didn’t have a lot of time together. They had two young kids and were expecting their third. At that point I had three young kids, my husband was in school, I was working part-time, we were facing graduation and job searching and moving. We both said we didn’t feel amazing – we just did what we had to do, one day at a time.

    It was the first time I’d truly understood the implications of everyone having *something* that is challenging and dealing with the messiness of life the best they can at the time- regardless of how heroic it looked from the outside. I looked at my own bruises and thought she was amazing; she looked at her own scrapes and thought I was wonderful.

    It’s perception.

    Tracy, I honestly admire you. You’re right – I don’t want your life. But when I go through my own dark moments, I know there is someone who understands darkness and is walking through it and emerging brilliant and hopeful. It gives me courage to continue on my own path. You saddle up; I saddle up; and we bumble through our awkward expressions of awe and support. Usually we mean well, even if it’s not well-stated.

    My wish for you on this ride of your life is that you will emerge with as few saddle sores as possible. Continue saddling up anyway, friend.

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  33. Tracy, you’re my hero. :). Not because you’re raising your kids, but because you can cut to the chase and touch hearts better than any blogger I know. I hope you realize you have a gift for expression—this is for real.

    I’ve felt the exact same way as you describe. When people say those things to me, I try to be nice and take what they’re saying as well meant. But I get sick of being the token sufferer. Although any more, with all the new people in our ward, I’m just the “kind of crazy lady” who says off the wall things.

    Kind of like here, I guess.

    I remember once a teacher didn’t show up and the RS presidency counselor had to give the lesson and it was on suffering or something and she singled me out and asked how I felt about it. It was like when a reporter sticks a mike in the face of a bereaved parent. How the hell did she think I felt? I said “I think it sucks.” If I’d been at all prepared, I might have said something deeply spiritual, but I was actually insulted.

    But I was thinking today if people were to ask me who I thought the best bloggers were, bar none, you’d be at the top of my list. You’re the whole package. Well done.

  34. My life has been intense and hellatious… and I’ve heard a lot of people say I’m their hero. My response was, “I’m a hero because I survived… I didn’t die… your standards for a hero are rather low.”

    There were even moments that I told them that. I told them how it felt to have them call me a hero when I didn’t feel heroic: it felt lonely. Some heard me (and they have become really good friends). Some got upset, and I don’t talk to them anymore… no loss.

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

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